Helping local communities to influence decision makers in Northwestern Pichincha, Ecuador
By AvesConservacion, Fri, 21/05/2010 - 14:37
The montane forests of Northwestern Pichincha, Ecuador are threatened by several factors including forest loss, decreasing water quality and quantity, expected mining activity in the near future, unregulated ecotourism and poor local planning owing to limited environmental decision-making management capacity. Aves y Conservacion, the BirdLife Partner in Ecuador, has identified three Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and formed Local Conservation Groups with communities in the region. Recent work with LCGs has aimed to improve their capacity to influence local and provincial decision-makers and the public in general about the importance of biodiversity conservation in the area. The project has helped create the conditions for the conservation of these globally important forests, as well as for sustainable development in the area. For example:
- Civil society’s capacity has been strengthened for influencing decision makers responsible for land use planning, sustainable development and local environmental management.
- Outreach on the importance of birds and IBAs to the local authorities has promoted their inclusion in policies, strategies and actions, as per the new constitutional provisions.
- Conservation plans for the IBAs were produced and publicized. The plans include conservation priorities, a threats analysis and conservation objectives and actions for each area.
- Birding tourism and other nature-based tourism activities were promoted. These activities have become recognized as a sustainable economic alternative for the area and different actors are interested in supporting the development of birding tourism initiatives managed by local people.
- Concern has grown with regards to deforestation, protection of species at risk, control of trade in species, illegal hunting and fishing, and control of resource extraction, particularly metal mining. Some actions to self-regulate these issues have been taken at the local level.